Roll on May
Well by now you will all know if you are in or out of the ride.
It has been an interesting couple of weeks for us all, we have gone from years of sorting envelopes and cheques, on the living room floor, to an electronic system which on the whole worked quite well.
Yes there were minor glitches, but the general opinion with the team was, that, we can learn from the glitches and things will be a lot smoother next year.
We have even presented a few challenges to PayPal, who have have devised a simpler entry system especially for us next year – but if you never have a go you will never learn. A big thank you to the vast majority of riders who entered, for their patience and understanding while we move into the electronic age.
Unfortunately there are a lot of disappointed riders out there too. We would love to put you all in the ride, and maybe in the future we can accommodate more riders.
But with 2,000 riders it is a mammoth task for our army of volunteers. They have to look after you whilst you ride 112 miles alongside traffic, past lakes and over mountains and the steepest passes in the most beautiful part of the country .
Unfortunately, there is always something to take the shine off things. This ride was set up to honour Fred Whitton and to raise funds for MacMillan. We started out as a small group who knew Fred and wanted to keep his spirit alive. It grew quickly and even people who didn’t know Fred wanted to be part of this experience.
But for the first time on the ride we are experiencing whinging, whining, selfishness, rudeness and a lack of understanding in what the ride is all about. If this is the new breed of cyclist out there quite frankly, we do not want them.
I would like to explain some things that we have learned over the last 14 years.
Firstly that the fairest way to pick the riders out is to have a draw, this is also called a LOTTERY – a Lottery is where you put all the names in the hat and the ones you pick out are the ones in the ride (in this case 2,000) Simple !
Not so with some who entered, a very small amount, but nevertheless – they gave us plenty of aggravation. These are the riders that entered and within ten minutes of learning that they had been unsuccessful, were sending whinging emails, and Twittering, this a new word that I have learned, myself I think they should call it Wittering. Social media ? It’s not for me personally. I’m happiest on my bike.
Having said that, we can see that social media can help us to raise money and make the entry system slicker in the future.
We also had riders contacting the company that was generously holding the lottery for us, and giving up valuable time helping us out, asking for the result of the draw. Could they not wait like everyone else?
This was not a good reflection on our organisation. This is an organisation that relies on more than 130 volunteers on the day to run the event, and plenty before and after to make it work. It is an organisation that is run for CHARITY and not for a multinational corporation…FACT.
People say they cannot get a ride in the event, well we will guarantee them a ride next year, just come and help on the day, see the other side of things and put something back, or you can guarantee a place by raising sponsorship for Macmillan Cancer Support, it’s that easy.
Home Truths (part two)
The real truth is that we have the most fantastic set of people that have helped us out over the last 14 years, and a fantastic group of riders that have supported us all that time, and in all conditions without complaint. We never hear our volunteers moaning or ‘wittering’ even though some of them will stand out in all weathers for sometimes for 6 hours at a time…
- manning the feed stations,
- servicing the bikes,
- organising the communications,
- patching the riders up after accidents,
- picking up the rubbish,
- marking out the route etc. etc.
Believe me these people have not got time to ‘witter’. All these people do it because the like the spirit of the event, this event is not a ride in the park. It is not called The ‘Daddy of Them All’ for nothing.
The ride demands respect from all, and for all of us here connected with the ride it is a privilege to work on it, and I am sure that most of the riders would say it is a privilege to ride. It seems some people would rather get upset about things that in the long run are pretty trivial!
That’s all from ‘home truths’ for now, and after sitting here for the last few weeks looking out on rain, wind and snow now the sun’s shining I am going to get out my 1958 hand-made Ellis Briggs 531, complete with down tube leavers (no batteries), and with 12 gears, 6 cogs on the back and double chain ring, all Campag Grand Sport, complete with toe clips and straps. I am then going for a ride through the Lakes (without a Garmin) to a local pub I know that has a no phone area (only because of the reception) where we can have a conversation on the next table, without using my fingers and a small black box, drink real ale, not the chemical stuff, at happy hour prices. All this with no Twitter, no Facebook, no text, no telephone, no Garmin, no 22 electronic gears and carbon bike.
A perfect day – oh and I forgot to mention the woolly shorts!
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